Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/235

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THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY



JULY, 1901.



THE TRANSMISSION OF YELLOW FEVER BY MOSQUITOES.
By GEORGE M. STERNBERG, M.D., LL.D.,
SURGEON-GENERAL U. S. ARMY.

THE discoveries which have been made during the past twenty-five years with reference to the etiology of infectious diseases constitute the greatest achievement of scientific medicine and afford a substantial basis for the application of intelligent measures of prophylaxis. We now know the specific cause ('germ') of typhoid fever, of pulmonary consumption, of cholera, of diphtheria, of erysipelas, of croupous pneumonia, of the malarial fevers and of various other infectious diseases of man and of the domestic animals, but, up to the present time, all efforts to discover the germ of yellow fever have been without success. The present writer, as a member of the Havana Yellow Fever Commission, in 1879, made the first systematic attempt to solve the unsettled questions relating to yellow fever etiology by modern methods of research. Naturally the first and most important question to engage my attention was that relating to the specific infectious agent, or 'germ,' which there was every reason to believe must be found in the bodies of infected individuals. Was this germ present in the blood, as in the case of relapsing fever; or was it to be found in the organs and tissues which upon post mortem examination give evidence of pathological changes, as in typhoid fever, pneumonia and diphtheria; or was it to be found in the alimentary canal, as in cholera and dysentery. The clinical history of the disease indicated a general blood infection. As my equipment included the best microscopical apparatus made, I had strong hopes that in properly stained preparations of blood taken from the circulation of yellow fever patients my Zeiss 1-18 oil immersion objective would reveal to me the germ I was in search of. But I was doomed to disap-